David Robertson decided to act as his own agent while jumping into free agency this winter, eventually landing a two-year, $23MM deal from the Phillies (plus a $12MM club option for 2021). While the final result was successful, Robertson told Philly.com’s Scott Lauber that he had a few nagging doubts once other relievers came off the board and he was still unsigned as the calendar turned to 2019. “That was probably one of the times during the process when I kind of thought, ’Am I doing the right thing?’ ” Robertson said. “But I tried to stay calm and level-headed and see the bigger picture and know that I have a good set of skills, that the right teams I had spoken to were interested, and it was just a matter of figuring it out and getting an actual deal done.” The self-representation stance also created an interesting dynamic on the other side of the negotiating table, as Phillies GM Matt Klentak admitted “when you’re talking directly to a player about contracts, sometimes I found myself being a little more guarded with what I would say than I might be with an agent.”
Some more from around the National League…
- Greg Holland had a much rougher trip through free agency in the 2017-18 offseason. The veteran reliever described his quest to sign a contract and subsequent rough 2018 season to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale as a situation that “snowballed for me and spiraled out of control for me.” Holland’s services were weighed down by a qualifying offer, and he said that talks with the Rockies abruptly ended after Colorado pivoted to sign Wade Davis rather than wait for Holland to further test the market. As a result, Holland didn’t find a new team until he signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Opening Day, and the lack of a proper Spring Training led to disastrous on-field results. “Physically, I felt great, I felt healthy. But you’re throwing to college guys, and a week later you’re pitching in the major leagues in a tie game,” Holland said. “You can only emulate so much of a big-league game….The quicker you can get into a scenario where you’re facing Major League talent on a consistent basis, you’re going to be more successful.” This winter, Holland signed a one-year, $3.25MM deal with the Diamondbacks, as the right-hander looks to get his career back on track.
- Holland’s slow start could factor into the Cardinals’ decision about pursuing any current free agents this spring, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak implied that if the team did add any new faces on minor league deals, a stint in extended Spring Training could be required or even “demanded” of any new signing. “So, lesson learned from last year perhaps? I think for sure,” Mozeliak said. “You have to take something away from that. The outcome [with Holland] was not what we wanted. I think we did learn our lesson.” Goold also observes that the Cards could face something of a roster crunch as they juggle multiple out-of-options players, so some trades could potentially come later in the spring.
- Mike Moustakas was hoping to return to the Brewers, and the third baseman reportedly turned down a multi-year offer from another team, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets. Moustakas and the Brew Crew agreed to a one-year, $10MM deal today that includes a mutual option for 2020, providing at least a chance at a longer-term stay in Milwaukee for the third baseman, though mutual options are rarely exercised. The Angels, Phillies, and Padres were all known to have at least checked in about Moustakas at various points this offseason, though The Athletic’s Dennis Lin notes that San Diego’s interest was “tempered.”
- Potential new additions have “not been a heavy part of the discussion” between Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and the front office, Maddon told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and other reporters. “That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen; I’m not saying that,” Maddon said. “But…I anticipate what you see showing up tomorrow [at camp], the [Opening Day] group’s going to be derived from that group.” It has been a quiet offseason for a Cubs team that is seemingly dealing with strict budget restraints, as the Northsiders try to stay under the $246MM payroll mark (to avoid a larger luxury tax penalty).